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mypaper – “‘Fur parents’ pamper their pets”

Published May 7, 2010 in In The News, What's New |
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DOGGIE SPA: At Petopia, Oscar’s fur is applied with special clay as part of a revitalising treatment. (PHOTO: JAMIE KOH)


BIRTHDAY cakes and spa treatments – these are some of the things young professionals are splurging on for their pets.

Dubbed “fur parents” for the way they pamper their pets, these adults – usually in their 20s and 30s – are the main reason behind the boom in luxury pet services here.

Mr Marcus Khoo, executive director of Petopia, a pet care centre which provides services ranging from lodging to massages, said he is seeing a growing market of young professionals who spend lavishly on their pets.

“They love and pamper their dogs and treat them like their kids,” he said.

Ms Jackie Sim, owner of US Doggie Bakery, which makes baked goods for people and dogs, said the bulk of her customers are professionals in their 20s.

The bakery, which has a licence from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority, has seen a 30 per cent increase in these consumers over the past three years.

A check with three pet shops which stock gourmet pet food, cheeses and chocolates found that more than half of the customers are young adults.

Such high-end pet food does not come cheap: It can cost about $12 for a 30g packet.

So, why are these young professionals so willing to spend on their pets?

Ms Ethel Chong, 26, one of Ms Sim’s loyal customers, lives alone with her two-year old labrador retriever, Tim.

The marketing executive spends about $50 on treats for Tim and $100 on grooming it every month.

She said: “Tim is as greedy and innocent as a little boy and I like to pamper it. When it looks at me, I just melt.

“Some people, like my mum, think I’m spending a lot on my dog and that the money can be better used for other purposes. But I think the money is worth it if it makes Tim happy.”

Mr Benedict Lim of Fluffy Friends, a pet shop in Bukit Timah, said: “These people are willing to splurge as they don’t have a family to take care of.

“Their largest responsibility outside work is their pets. Also, they usually like new and quirky things, and gourmet pet food may be a novel concept for them.”

Mr Nicholas Gabriel Lim, executive director of psychological-services provider iGROW, said this is a growing trend among adults who dote on their pets.

He said: “Some of them might see getting a pet as a transition period. They might want a child in future, but feel that, at the moment, they aren’t able to handle a kid, so they try taking care of an animal first.

“Ultimately, most people still see the value of having their own child and family.”

With a growing number of “fur parents” here, it is no wonder that Mr Khoo decided to branch into luxury services for pets about a year ago because he saw the value in the market.

“Customers are willing to spend on the quality care we provide, as the price we charge includes payment for services such as walks and baths.

“This is unlike pet farms, which see (such services) as add-ons,” he said.


Square Rooms – “Pet Sanctuary”

Published May 1, 2010 in In The News, What's New |
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